Nav: Home

Engineers create a better way to boil water -- with industrial, electronics applications

May 04, 2016

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Engineers at Oregon State University have found a new way to induce and control boiling bubble formation, that may allow everything from industrial-sized boilers to advanced electronics to work better and last longer.

Advances in this technology have been published in Scientific Reports and a patent application filed.

The concept could be useful in two ways, researchers say - either to boil water and create steam more readily, like in a boiler or a clothing iron; or with a product such as an electronics device to release heat more readily while working at a cooler temperature.

"One of the key limitations for electronic devices is the heat they generate, and something that helps dissipate that heat will help them operate at faster speeds and prevent failure," said Chih-hung Chang, a professor of electrical engineering in the OSU College of Engineering. "The more bubbles you can generate, the more cooling you can achieve.

"On the other hand, if you want to create steam at a lower surface temperature, this approach should be very useful in boilers and improve their efficiency. We've already shown that it can be done on large surfaces and should be able to scale up in size to commercial use."

The new approach is based on the use of piezoelectric inkjet printing to create hydrophobic polymer "dots" on a substrate, and then deposit a hydrophilic zinc oxide nanostructure on top of that. The zinc oxide nanostructure only grows in the area without dots. By controlling both the hydrophobic and hydrophilic structure of the material, bubble formation can be precisely controlled and manipulated for the desired goal.

This technology allows researchers to control both boiling and condensation processes, as well as spatial bubble nucleation sites, bubble onset and departure frequency, heat transfer coefficient and critical heat flux for the first time.

In electronics, engineers say this technology may have applications with some types of solar energy, advanced lasers, radars, and power electronics - anywhere it's necessary to dissipate high heat levels.

In industry, a significant possibility is more efficient operation of the steam boilers used to produce electricity in large electric generating facilities.
-end-
This work was supported by the OSU Venture Development Fund and the Scalable Nanomanufacturing Program of the National Science Foundation.

Oregon State University

Related Zinc Articles:

Tackling iron and zinc deficiencies with 'better' bread
The health effects of zinc and iron deficiencies can be devastating, particularly in developing countries.
Zinc's negative effects on mineral digestibility can be mitigated, study shows
Researchers at the University of Illinois have shown that a common strategy for reducing postweaning digestive problems in pigs may have negative effects on calcium and phosphorus digestibility, and are suggesting management practices to counteract the effects.
Zinc may hold key to fighting liver disease
New research from Sydney's Westmead Institute for Medical Research highlights the potential for zinc to be used as a simple and effective therapeutic against viral infections such as hepatitis C and influenza.
Zinc oxide: It's not just for sunscreen and diaper cream!
For many, zinc oxide conjures images of bright stripes down lifeguards' noses.
Common cold duration is shortened similarly by zinc acetate and zinc gluconate lozenges
There is no significant difference between zinc acetate lozenges and zinc gluconate lozenges regarding their efficacy in shortening the duration of common colds according to a meta-analysis published in Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine Open.
Zinc supply affects cardiac health
In addition to essential metabolic functions, the level of zinc in the body also affects the heart muscle.
Better learning through zinc?
Zinc is a vital micronutrient involved in many cellular processes: For example, in learning and memory processes, it plays a role that is not yet understood.
Zinc: A surprise target in regenerating the optic nerve after injury
For more than two decades, researchers have tried to regenerate the injured optic nerve using different growth factors and/or agents that overcome natural growth inhibition.
Here's how your body transports zinc to protect your health
Researchers have, for the first time, created detailed blueprints of the molecular moving vans that ferry this important mineral everywhere it's needed through the blood.
Zinc lozenges help most patients recover earlier from the common cold
Zinc acetate lozenges may reduce the duration of the common cold by nearly 3 days, according to a recent analysis.

Related Zinc Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Setbacks
Failure can feel lonely and final. But can we learn from failure, even reframe it, to feel more like a temporary setback? This hour, TED speakers on changing a crushing defeat into a stepping stone. Guests include entrepreneur Leticia Gasca, psychology professor Alison Ledgerwood, astronomer Phil Plait, former professional athlete Charly Haversat, and UPS training manager Jon Bowers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#524 The Human Network
What does a network of humans look like and how does it work? How does information spread? How do decisions and opinions spread? What gets distorted as it moves through the network and why? This week we dig into the ins and outs of human networks with Matthew Jackson, Professor of Economics at Stanford University and author of the book "The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviours".